Two arrested, accused of smuggling people inside plastic bin

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Border Patrol agents arrested two women after discovering five people who were illegally in the country inside a plastic bin, where one person told authorities they felt like they were “suffocating” and was “afraid for his life,” according to a criminal complaint.

Both Victoria Lynn Gutierrez and Jackie Kasandra Molina were charged with assisting one another with knowingly and with reckless disregard attempting to transport people illegally present in the United States.

At around 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Gutierrez and Molina approached the Falfurrias checkpoint in a silver Chevrolet Tahoe carrying a large plastic bin in the backseat.

During the inspection, the agent inquired about the bin and asked for verbal consent to search it. Both women agreed.

When the agent asked Molina why the bin was so heavy for the visible contents, she stated that “we’re moving.” According to the complaint, however, it seemed staged because the vehicle didn’t appear to have any common household goods.

“The bulk of these contents were clothing items and trash bags on the floor which prevented anyone from observing the floorboard of the vehicle,” the complaint said.

When the agent opened the black door, there appeared to be a person with their head and torso partially shoved in a duffel bag and their legs partially covered by a trash bag.

The agent then called for assistance.

Five people were removed from the vehicle with one being found within a large moving tub concealed under several items.

“The bin was cut open and his upper body was in the bin,” the complaint said.

During an interview, Gutierrez told authorities that she’s from Sinton and had been living in Channelview in a Motel 6.

She stated that Molina borrowed a vehicle from a friend and had been using it for about four days.

Gutierrez said she and Molina came down to Edinburg after a friend invited her to play at a game room and headed back to Houston on Wednesday morning.

She told authorities that she noticed a blue plastic box, which was located in the back of the vehicle, had been moved on top of the middle bench seat behind the driver’s seat.

Gutierrez admitted that when she had told the agent that she and Molina were moving, it was a lie.

She then requested a lawyer and the interview was terminated.

One person concealed inside the vehicle stated they felt like they were suffocating inside the bag he had on his head and was afraid for his life.

Another person said they had a plastic tool bag and other bags on top of her to cover her body.

She added that she was in an uncomfortable position and that her feet went numb after holding that position for about an hour.

Only one of those individuals was able to identify Gutierrez and Molina in a photo lineup.

Both women are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Julie K. Hampton for their preliminary examination and detention hearing Monday morning.